I’m used to printmaking books for kids, and printmaking books for folks who, like myself, have the equivalent of an art degree in printmaking, but rarely do books successfully span the full range of printmakers, from novices and hobbyists to professional artists and everyone in between. This new printmaking book is great for folks wanting to buy or make all the authentic tools to do Japanese traditional woodblock printing. And, for people with less money or time to spend on learning this form of printmaking, the author, April Vollmer, provides a lot of great information that can be easily applied to using cheaper materials, and even to doing decidedly non-traditional printmaking of a sort that kids and new printmakers could easily master.
For artists who just want to add a new technique or a different perspective to their own established methods, this book offers lots of ideas, and a lot of color images of the artist’s finished work to inspire her readers to come up with their own original pieces. Reading this book felt a lot like being in a graduate printmaking master-class, a particularly fun master-class where I might actually use the stuff I learned, and could see how what I was learning could inspire new artwork, even without having to go out and buy a lot of new art supplies.
The book itself is very nice. The text is readable, the instructions are well illustrated, and the examples of the author’s finished artwork make this a fun book to browse even when one is not looking to read or try out the techniques. My copy, which I received free through the publisher’s Blogging for Books program, is hardbound and has a lovely feel to it, which seems appropriate considering the elegance of the traditional Japanese craft and techniques this book is inspired by. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in printmaking.